Segway scooters have become a popular way to tour a city. Rather than sit still on a tour bus that’s stuck in traffic, travelers can hop aboard a scooter and join their fellow vacationers in seeing the city sights. But due to some recent accidents and resulting city regulations, it’s going to be a little bit more onerous to segway in San Diego.
The city of San Diego took the first legislative step toward requiring that owners of tour businesses that operate segways get a permit and pay an operator fee. That part is manageable for business owners, but the third part of the equation—the mandate for up to $2 million in commercial liability insurance, is going to substantially raise the cost of business—and may in fact put some tour operators out of business.
The current debate has its roots in a 2015 accident. Regina Capobianco suffered a pelvis injury while on a tour and filed a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit exposed the fact the tour company had no insurance and its owner had limited assets. Capobianco shifted her target to the city itself and obtained a $1.7 million settlement last summer.
One segway tour owner, Bridgette Bisogno, flatly stated that the new regulations will put her out of business. Bisogno noted that the competitiveness of San Diego’s tour market makes raising prices a practical impossibility. Bisogno has an ally on the City Council, Barbara Bry, who notes that biking and kayaking businesses are not regulated in this way.
But Bry’s voice on the council is a lonely one and she was outvoted 8-1. Scott Sherman, a former businessman himself and current council member, sympathizes with Bisogno’s plight but also notes that there are a lot of municipal costs that simply come with running a small business.
A second vote is still required to officially enact the regulations and a date for the vote has not been scheduled.